Past heroes in Rocky pool
ON A day when the Gold Coast was awarded the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Southside Memorial Pool hosted top Australian swimmers who had enjoyed the experience of competing for their country at both Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
One with such a background was Rebecca Creedy who won gold at Kuala Lumpur 13 years ago when swimming the 4x100 metre freestyle relay alongside top names Susie O'Neill, Sarah Ryan and Lori Munz.
These days Creedy still enjoys success but has moved on to the endurance events, and is one of the best in Ironwoman.
Creedy was one of a group of top swimmers who were invited by the Aqua Jets Swim Club to be a part of the annual Tropic of Capricorn meeting.
Another to swim, and meet the aspiring swimmers of the region, was Melissa Gorman who represented Australia at Olympic and Commonwealth Games' in the open water events and the 800m pool event. A winner of silver and bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and 2010 respectively, she also represented her country in the 2008 Olympics in a 10km marathon.
While they are the big names who have swum at the highest levels, many of the local youngsters were out to produce personal bests, win races and enjoy the occasion.
Emu Park is a small club with a lot of young swimmers, but proved to be very competitive.
Club coach Paul Connelly said with several big clubs travelling from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, it may have been daunting for junior swimmers but had the opposite effect with all athletes producing great swims to help Emu Park finish in third place behind Redcliffe and Rocky City.
"When you consider that our oldest competitor was 13 years old, the club did well to be ranked in the top three at this top class meet," Connelly said, "our swimmers are showing maturity beyond their years. They work hard and are always challenging themselves in training to improve."
Three Emu Park swimmers qualified for the Queensland Swimming Championships at Brisbane in December, and two more were close to qualifying.
The coach said a catalyst to future success is Rockhampton Regional Council gaining State Government funds to assist in the heating of the pool at the Don Ireland Swim Complex.